The Daily Dose: Encouraging pandemic news ; Scientists seeing usefulness of psychedelic drugs.

There is some optimism in the United States in light of decreasing COVID-19 numbers. As a result, they are beginning lift lockdowns. Per the Associated Press, “Several states are loosening their coronavirus restrictions on restaurants and other businesses because of improved infection and hospitalization numbers but are moving gradually and cautiously, in part because of the more contagious variant taking hold in the U.S. While the easing could cause case rates to rise, health experts say it can work if done in a measured way and if the public remains vigilant about masks and social distancing.”

Meanwhile, the European Union is calling out the pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca for what they believe is a breach of contract to deliver COVID-19 vaccines. The Associated Press reports, “AstraZeneca said last week that it planned to cut initial deliveries in the EU to 31 million doses from 80 million due to reduced yields from its manufacturing process in Europe. That drew an angry response from the EU, which says it expects the company to deliver the full amount on time. On Monday, the EU threatened to put export controls on all vaccines made in its territory.” With wildcat COVID-19 outbreaks popping up all over the continent, the need for vaccinations is urgent. Unfortunately, that’s hard to do if you don’t have enough shots.

It’s no secret that sharks are under extreme pressure around the world due to human activity. However, it was unclear just how much pressure they were experiencing. Now, scientists have a better idea and it’s worse than thought. “In the new study, shark experts took a look at 31 species of oceanic sharks and rays—all of the species that live in the open ocean. (The group is now analyzing coastal sharks and rays and reef-dwelling species.) With long-term data from fisheries and research surveys, the scientists calculated how populations have changed since 1970, a widely used benchmark. ‘Some of the declines are staggering,’ says Nicholas Dulvy, a conservation biologist at Simon Fraser University and co-leader of the effort.” Some populations were down as much as 71%.

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In 2015, Alex Ji discovered the presence of more emporium in a star system than expected. At that time, astronomers believed that the creation of heavy elements like emporium or gold were rare because of the energy needed to create them. According to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, “Ji’s 2015 discovery helped overturn that conventional wisdom. Two years later, a dramatic observation seemed to confirm the new thinking. Astronomers saw heavy elements actually forming when two dense neutron stars spiraled into each other, which implied that merging neutron star binaries and not supernovae were the main source of the heaviest elements. Now, however, doubts have arisen, suggesting that the original solution—supernova explosions—may be an important part of the answer after all.” So back to the drawing board for that theory. However, the fact that there is gold to be found in this galaxy and beyond gives me hope that humankind will one day discover how to reach such far away places. Greed can do amazing things.

The scientific community is slowly but surely coming to a realization that untold numbers of recreational drug users knew inherently. Psychedelics can serve more purposes than just tripping out. They actually relieve the burden of some forms of mental health issues. Per Nature, “Once dismissed as the dangerous dalliances of the counterculture, these drugs are gaining mainstream acceptance. Several states and cities in the United States are in the process of legalizing or decriminalizing psilocybin for therapeutic or recreational purposes. And respected institutions such as Imperial; Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland; the University of California, Berkeley; and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City have opened centres devoted to studying psychedelics. Several small studies suggest the drugs can be safely administered and might have benefits for people with intractable depression and other psychological problems, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).” Welcome to the club.

Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.

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